Tag Archives: SMART goals

The Mid-Year Goalpost

Goalpost

I love goals. I’ve mentioned this before. I grew up in a family where setting goals was as commonplace as brushing teeth and complaining about siblings. So I’ve developed something of a tradition here on my blog. In January, I set my goals. In July I revisit them.

That’s a bit misleading, though. I’m actually re-evaluating my goals on a weekly and monthly basis. Because goals are living things, better set in silly string rather than concrete.

Nonetheless, tradition is as tradition does. Here’s how I’m tracking with the goals I set in January.

TNT#1

Achievement unlocked!

I had set a goal to complete the first draft this by March 1st. I actually typed ‘The End’ on February 1st.

I also set a goal to do a once-over revision by May 1st. I actually completed it on Marsh 14th.

Moving forward, my goal is to finish revisions on this novel by October 1st, and have a query letter ready to go by November 1st.

Novel B CST

I set a goal to complete this first draft by the end of 2013. Really, that was a generous time period. I knew that even when I set it. And considering I’m 2/3 of the way through it, I’m revising my goals for this novel to:

  • Finish first draft by 1st September.
  • Finish revisions by 1st November.
  • Have query letter written by 1st December.

Novel C

Because… why not? I have three ideas that I really want to write, as well as the sequels to TNT. So come the end of the year, I will have decided what I’m writing next and got to work. Really, my only official goal is to have an outline done by December 31st. But I’ll be thrilled if I’ve started writing it as well. (Comic dystopian? YA Urban fantasy? Paranormal Thriller? Or something I haven’t yet dreamed up…. Only time will tell.)

TNT#2 and #3

I’ve got the stories mapped out in my head, so my goal is to have the outlines written for both by November 1st. It never hurts to be prepared.

Flash Fiction

I set a target to write and share 12 flash fiction stories, and so far I’ve done none. As you may have noticed, I haven’t been blogging as often. This is partly because Life has thrown me some curve balls, and I don’t have as much time as I expected, and partly because my main focus is on novel writing. So I’ve officially removed this goal from my 2013 plans.

Short Stories

My goal was to submit six short stories to contests and/or fiction markets. As with above, my priorities have changed. I have submitted one, and have plans for another. But I don’t anticipate any more than that. So consider my goal down-graded to two.

Reading

I was going to read 75 books. I was. And then… life. So I’ve only read 20 books at this stage. I’m revising back down to 50 books for the year, and that will be a stretch target.

Overall

What a great year so far! I’m loving my novel writing, and can’t wait to get stuck into writing every day. I’m part of a great writing community on Facebook (seriously, if you’re not part of Writer Unboxed, you have no idea what you’re missing out on!) and have made amazing, supportive, and encouraging friends and colleagues through both WU and a second, more intimate writing community.

I said in January that this is the year I’m moving from “enthusiastic amateur” to “professional writer”, and I feel well and truly on the way there.

How are you tracking with your goals?

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2013: The Obligatory Goal-Setting Post

Photo by Harold Neal

Happy 2013! I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season, and has hit the ground running in 2013. I know I did.

And what would the start of a new year be without the obligatory look back and look forward of a goal-setting post?

As I said last year, I’m not a believer in namby-pamby resolutions. But I love me some SMART* goals. So let’s look at how I went with last year’s goals and then I’ll share this year’s goals with you. You’ll keep me honest, right?

Last Year

Complete First Draft of TNT#1

This time last year, I set myself the goal of completing this first draft by April 30. That date came and went, so I revised my target and set a goal to complete this first draft by September 30. Again, that date came and went without me coming close to achieving the goal.

Research and Plan Novel B

I didn’t even get close to doing this. Bzzzzzt!

Social Media

I originally had a variety of social media based goals to accomplish. But as the year went on, and I embraced this blog, Facebook, and Twitter, social media become a part of my life rather than another task to be completed. I removed any SMART goals based around social media when I revisited my goals in July.

Write and share 26 Flash Fiction stories

When I looked at how I was tracking in July, I’d only posted 2 new flash fiction stories on my blog. I put my head down and worked on writing more FF and by the end of the year I’d posted 15. Although I didn’t hit my initial goal, I’m pretty happy with that result.

Write and submit 6 short stories to fiction markets

I only submitted three over the course of the year, but again I’m pretty happy with that.

Read 50 books

This was one goal I completely blew out of the water. I read 69 books during 2013, and loved taking the time to immerse myself in reading. And I truly believe that doing so has had a positive effect on my writing as well.

Lose 8kg (17lb) and maintain fitness

I didn’t quite make my goal, unfortunately. But I did lose 6kg (13lb), which is great. (Honestly, I’m just thrilled not to have put back on the weight I lost during 2011!)

Overall

I’m pretty happy with my progress over 2012. Although I didn’t meet my writing goals, I made significant progress toward them. And, more importantly perhaps, my confidence in my writing improved and I met a lot of other writers online. I feel that 2012 was a positive year, and I can’t wait to take that positivity forward!

2013

This Year

Complete First Draft of TNT#1

With my new writing plan in place, I will continue to write every day. This will allow me to complete my first draft by 1st March.

I will then do a single revision pass to fix the continuity errors I know are present (because I changed the direction of some of the characters midway through the novel), which will be completed by 1st May. Then I will let it sit and marinate for a while before doing a second revision pass. This will be completed by 1st October. Then it will be in the hands of my Beta Readers.

Complete First Draft of Novel B

When I’m not working on TNT#1, I will use my creative time to start writing Novel B. I will complete this first draft by the end of 2013.

Write and share 12 Flash Fiction stories

Once a month I will write and share a Flash Fiction piece on my blog. These stories will be written during the time I set aside for blog writing, not during creative time.

Write and submit 6 stories to contests/fiction markets

I will identify 6 contests and fiction markets I would like to write for, and use my creative time to write short stories to submit to them.

Read 75 books

This is a slight increase on last year’s result, and means reading 6 or 7 books per month. To achieve that goal, I will continue to listen to audiobooks in the car, keep a book in “the smallest room”, and carry a book with me everywhere I go so I can use every spare 5 minutes for reading. I will also do my best to minimise my “Good Book Hangovers” (that feeling after finishing a great book where you can’t bring yourself to start a new one and say goodbye to the characters you love).

Overall

This is the year I want to push myself to the next level, and make that commitment to treat writing like a real job. No more excuses. No more “I don’t feel creative” or “I don’t have time” or “I have to do the washing/ironing/cooking/cleaning/whatever”. I’m ready, 2013.

Bring it on.

What goals have you set for 2013? (Feel free to share the link to your own obligatory goal-setting post!)

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*If you don’t know what a SMART goal is, you’re missing out on a great tool for success. There are plenty of resources in print and on the interweb to explain how SMART goals work, so I won’t go into too much detail. Let it suffice to say that any goal you set should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-based
  • Realistic
  • Tangible/Time specific.

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